When we show a client a prospective home to purchase, we always begin with the primary concern that the buyer should have. The marketability of the home given they would wish to sell it in the future. We are realists though, most buyers are not concerned as much with the future but with the present. They are asking themselves will this home meet the needs of my family?
So, out of a sense of integrity, we are trying to look ahead for them on purpose. There are three fundamental issues that will dramatically affect the marketability of any home. Then to a lesser extent, two others.
- An Insurable Roof
- Structural Integrity
- Operational Heating and Air Systems
- Operational Plumbing System
- A Safe Electrical System
These five things heavily impact the price a home is able to be sold for.
Roofs are important as it relates to insurance carriers willing to write an affordable hazard insurance policy on the home. In the event that a hail or wind storm hits the roof, the homeowner will need to replace the damaged roof. If a homeowner cannot affordably replace the roof, then when they go to sell the property themselves, the first question the buyers typically ask is “what is the condition of the roof?” If they themselves are unable to get affordable insurance on the roof, they will invariably choose another home. Sellers are then forced to reduce the house’s price drastically until a buyer is found.
The foundation of a house is a key driver to its buyer. If a prospective buyer walks through a home with beautiful finishes, countertops and flooring surfaces only to find the doors not shutting well, cracks in the sheetrock and plaster above windows and doors, or cracks on the brick mortar joints, rock facades or stucco exteriors then they will invariably choose another home or ask for a significant discount. Many real estate investors have lost money on a house flip by fixing the home cosmetically without addressing structural defects. These repairs are costly and often times are not permanent fixes. If the ground and foundation is shifting under the home a structural engineer will need to be hired to produce a plan. Then a foundation repair company will follow that plan to remedy the defects. Even then, a stigma will follow the home since it is illegal to not disclose structural defects and their remedies.
Heating and Air
Systems used to heat and cool including the duct systems are subject to heavy scrutiny by buyers. They are very expensive to replace and are of primary concern. In any showing, while the clients are looking through all the aesthetic aspects of the home we are taking the time to take a first look at the furnace, air conditioner and hot water heater. We are also often times looking in the vents if they are in the floor. Surprisingly, structural defects often cause breaks in the ducts that run under a slab. If moisture runs into a duct from a slab leak or ground water the ducts rust and possible mold can build up in the system. At that juncture, running ducts above the ceilings and in unsightly areas may be the only solution. The costs of the units themselves are expensive too. Almost always, the buyers will ask the sellers to remedy any situation that is not in normal working order or the easiest solution, simply choose another home.
Electrical and plumbing
As noted above, plumbing and electrical systems are expensive to diagnose and correct if there are issues. A failed structure can often cause leaks under a slab by compromising drain pipes or supply lines. If this happens, it compounds the structural issues in the home, making the worse than before. In addition, electrical issues like aluminum wiring from the fifties or blown circuits from water leaks can cause electrical damage. These issues are more rare than the structural, HVAC, or roofing issues but none the less expensive to address.
The fundamentals of a house, and the systems which make our lives comfortable are important to choosing the right home. We look for fundamental defects while our buyers focus on the aesthetics to help them make the best possible investment with their hard earned dollars.